Strengths Finder (Rant)

I hate Gallop.

They perform this annual survey at our company, measuring whether or not our employees are engaged. I know we are (for the most part)... but they claim their stupid little 12-question survey will prove it.

One of the questions on the survey is "I have a best friend at work".

What kind of a fucktastic question is that?!?

We just had to take a "Strengths Finder" survey today. It was much, much worse.

I like the idea of strengths-finding, and happily took Martin Seligman's version of the same kind of test. I think Seligman's has merit. His test itself was a little tedious, sure, but it's not nearly as exhausting and LAME as the Gallop survey. Once again, they've ruined a good idea. The Gallop test is copyrighted, so I'm not supposed to copy anything from it... but in the spirit of "it is your duty to break unjust laws", I will copy one of the questions:

I am passionate about education.

I am passionate about eliminating violence.

I'm supposed to pick one of those two, or the awful "Neutral" that's in the middle. How am I supposed to do that? ...I mean, I'm forced to choose "Neutral" here, since I'm passionate about both of them. Extremely so.

It just feels wrong.

And lame.

Among the results they yielded for me was the following. Read this and tell me exactly how much it applies to me!


Things happen for a reason. You are sure of it. You are sure of it because in your soul you know that we are all connected. Yes, we are individuals, responsible for our own judgments and in possession of our own free will, but nonetheless we are part of something larger. Some may call it the collective unconscious. Others may label it spirit or life force. But whatever your word of choice, you gain confidence from knowing that we are not isolated from one another or from the earth and the life on it. This feeling of Connectedness implies certain responsibilities. If we are all part of a larger picture, then we must not harm others because we will be harming ourselves. We must not exploit because we will be exploiting ourselves. Your awareness of these responsibilities creates your value system. You are considerate, caring, and accepting. Certain of the unity of humankind, you are a bridge builder for people of different cultures. Sensitive to the invisible hand, you can give others comfort that there is a purpose beyond our humdrum lives. The exact articles of your faith will depend on your upbringing and your culture, but your faith is strong. It sustains you and your close friends in the face of life's mysteries.

I want to hit someone from Gallop.

About a year ago, Gallop sent a rep out to our company to tout their 12-question survey. I read them the riot act. I ripped 'em a new one. It was ugly. ...I think I made our CIO blush. I focused mainly on the "best friend" question, but they wouldn't have any of it. "Years of data!", they proclaim, "Thousands of variants were tested, and these questions most closely corresponded to the top-achieving companies in America!"

Mmmmn-hmmmn. That sums it up, I think. ...If you want to measure top performance in America, here's seven questions for you to rank between "strongly disagree" and "strongly agree":
  1. I am white.
  2. I am male.
  3. I am wealthy.
  4. I am Christian.
  5. I spend time schmoozing with those of equal or greater status than me.
  6. I have no trouble stepping on those weaker or of lower status than I.
  7. My father was rich and powerful.
I'll bet those correspond real well.


(And for the record, my total strength-finder results were Learner, Input, Connectedness, Intellection (?!?), Ideation. Most of these are true enough, if stupid jargon-ized words, but my five-year old could have told you that the ideas behind them were my strengths. Seligman's test revealed to me that one of my "signature" strengths is forgiveness. Not immediately apparent, but ultimately true.)


Victor said...

That was interesting... I took the Seligman test. The result was... well... weird. Check this out:

Your Top Strength: Perspective (wisdom)

Your Second Strength: Bravery and valor

Your Third Strength: Capacity to love and be loved

Your Fourth Strength: Humor and playfulness

Your Fifth Strength: Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness

My #5 is #5?!.

Victor said...

BTW, this result suggests that my AD&D class is:


So there!

Fucking idiots... I am not a paladin, dammit, I am a battlemage!

R said...

Hi Jeremy & Victor,
Love this post. Was looking online for sample strengthsfinder questions, and found this. I was trying to demonstrate that reading the categories and placing yourself is probably more accurate than taking the test, and you said it perfectly and with humor. Still LOL, thanks!

R said...

PS - We (network security engineer and me, ms. usability) want to be best friends with both of you now. LOL at a D&D player having critical thinking ranked 5th. Not impossible, fun to run with when its true. I knew this chaotic neutral mage...